The missing piece?

Tesla's announcement yesterday of their Powerwall Home Battery storage system has generated a lot of buzz in the solar industry. Tesla has called it the "missing piece" in the clean energy ecosystem, enabling you to store excess solar power generated during the day and use it for charging your electric vehicle at night. And if you don't have an electric vehicle, battery storage can still potentially save you money by allowing you to charge from the grid during low rate periods at night and power your home from the battery during higher rate periods in the daytime.

While commentators are quick to point out the many complexities and questions around how cost effective battery storage will actually be in the near term, there's no doubt that energy storage will have an important role to play in the future of home solar systems and the grid. We're excited to watch how this is going to play out.

If you're looking into going solar, what does this announcement mean for you?

SolarCity says they will begin taking orders for "turnkey" battery backup systems incoporating Tesla's Powerwall as of today (for new solar customers only until later in the year). SunRun will add Tesla batteries to its line of home storage options offered by its subsidiary AEE Solar.

Many other solar providers are sure to follow suit. And while a number of companies have been offering battery backup solutions from other vendors for several years, the Tesla announcement will no doubt spur interest and demand for these options. Look for every major solar company to start offering a high profile storage solution. Just last week, for example, Sungevity and Sonnenbatterie partnered to start offering Sonnenbatterie's battery storage solution to Sungevity customers in the U.S. and Europe.

So should you get battery storage with your solar panels?

Unfortunately, unlike a Tesla Model-S, you can't take a solar power system for a test drive. However, you can learn from a neighbor who has one, and that's often the next best thing.

As the Tesla Powerwall starts rolling out over the next several months, we're excited to see the Powerwall stories homeowners will share on Pretty Visible to help the rest of us decide whether we should get one.

If you get a battery storage system, or if you already have one, post your experience on Pretty Visible to help educate your friends and neighbors. Why did you decide on one? How did the installation go? How are you using it? Is it saving you money? Would you recommend it to a neighbor?

Accelerating the solar revolution

We're with Elon Musk that changing the way the world uses energy "is something within the power of humanity to do." Solar innovation is going to continue accelerating and we look forward to doing our part by helping you do your part -- making informed clean energy choices and spreading the word. The missing piece is you.